In 1964, Champion Aircraft Corporation rolled out the first Citabria, a two-seat high-wing airplane based on the Aeronca Challenger which had come out shortly after World War II. The fabric-covered Citabria is an excellent aerobatic and training plane, but bush pilots also favor its short takeoff and landing (STOL) characteristics whether it’s on wheels, skis, or floats. When used with floats, as with any other plane, the Citabria cannot be used for aerobatic maneuvers.
Champion Aircraft Corporation sold the manufacturing rights to Bellanca Aircraft Corporation in 1970. At that time, the Citabria had only a 115 HP 0-235 engine installed. Two versions of the Citabria were then available: the 7CGBC Citabria 150S with trailing edge flaps and an increased wingspan, and the standard 7GCAA Citabria 150.
In 1971, the 7GCBC Scout was introduced. This was a utility version of the Citabria and could be optionally fitted for agricultural spraying. The Scout’s wheels could be switched out for skis or floats. Bellanca manufactured the Citabria for the next ten years.
When Bellanca Aircraft went out of business in 1982, manufacturing of the plane went into limbo for several years. Later, a succession of companies purchased the Citabria’s design plans, including Champion Aircraft Company which had no relation to the original Champion Aircraft Corporation.
In 1988, American Champion Aircraft Corporation purchased the type certificate to the Model 7 and Model 8 Champion Line of the Citabria, Super Decathlon, and the Scout. In 1990, American Champion Aircraft Corporation resumed production of the planes two years later. At the same time, they redesigned the airplanes with aluminum spars instead of wood spars, improving the performance and reliability. Older Citabrias can be retrofitted with the newer aluminum spars.
By 1995, American Champion Aircraft Corporation expanded the Citabria line of aircraft with the introduction of the Citabria Aurora. They also now manufacture the Citabria Adventure and the Citabria Explorer.
Maximum speed: 162 mph
Cruise speed: 126 mph
Range: 500 miles
Length: 22′ 9″
Wingspan: 33′ 5″
Height: 6′ 9″
Maximum weight: 1,650 pounds
Empty weight: 1,110 pounds
Engine(s): One 150 HP Lycoming O-320-A2B
Rate of climb: 1,120′ per minute
Crew: One pilot and up to one passenger